T Nation

Women's Krav Maga Self-Defense Class


#1

This thread is just an overview for anyone interested in a basic Krav Maga Women’s Self-Defense Class. I’m just making a short log about the experience of taking this beginner class, but anyone is welcome to comment, share their experience, or ask questions.

First Class Session.

About 30 women in the class. Most were mother/daughter pairs which was PERFECT since I’m taking this class with my fourteen-year-old daughter. There were lots of young girls about her age. The whole class was very hands-on. Observe the technique, then practice. They had three instructors helping and correcting.

Content.

Being Alert to Your Environment.
How to stand, walk with head up, looking alert. Not being an easy target because you’re distracted looking down at your phone, or digging in your purse for keys.

What To Do If an Unwanted Person Attempts to Get in Personal Space.

We practiced using a loud/ assertive voice. “STOP!” STOP RIGHT THERE!" One foot behind us, so we had a nice stable base of support. We assumed running was NOT an option.

  1. If the person continued to advance, we practiced hitting them hard in the chest with the heels of our hands.

  2. Then that push got combined with a groin kick. We took turns holding a pad at the chest and then down toward the groin so our partner could practice.

This looked a lot like the first 40 seconds of this video, where someone keeps coming so you push them in the chest. Then we combined that with a groin kick. They didn’t show us to evade by stepping to the side part that he teaches in the video, or the more advanced part later where he gets the guys chin and face.

The remainder of the class was focused on what to do if someone grabs you with their hands around the neck.

Apparently this is one of the most common attacks against women, and they often see if in domestic violence situations. We practiced getting loose from an attacker grabbing us around the neck from front, sides, and back.

The technique we learned looked almost exactly like this. Hand shoots up with bicep to ear, stepping and twisting our body so the attacker’s wrist was getting bent backward in an awkward position. Trying to grab and trap both of their hands against our chest, followed by elbows or fists combined with knees to the groin.

Impressions: It was an EXCELLENT way to spend an hour with my daughter. Well worth the time. We live in a very safe area, BUT she’s very polite, cordial, and really has no experience being assertive or physically defensive if needed. Also, it was good for her to see these female instructors being so capable and assertive.

Both of us are very petite women. Of course strength and size matters, but this is all about exploiting the weak or sensitive spots on the body. For example, in the escape from the two handed neck grab, the attacker’s wrist doesn’t want to bend backward, so the attacker immediately wants to let go when twisting your body is forcing their wrist to bend the wrong way.

This is just a start and we’ll forget all of this unless we take the time to continue to practice and occasionally take a refresher course or continue with more training.

@idaho, tagging you since you asked me to log about it. And tagging @twojarslave. You’ve both so encouraging and helpful. Thank you!

Maybe this is helpful to other women who are considering taking a class, or to some of you thinking about encouraging or training with your daughters, GFs, or wives.


#2

So much YES! I get the feeling that you and your daughter enjoyed yourselves during this class, and I hope to see additional entries in this log!

That’s exactly how I was prior to picking up a barbell in my mid-30’s and becoming strong enough to deadlift over 600 pounds with ease. I pride myself on being a gentle man with kind intentions to everyone around me. My log on T-Nation might consist of lifting, jiu jitsu, bouncing and vulgarity, but my proudest and strongest moments are not what I share on T-Nation. My adopted son is 17 now and I’ve been in his life since he was 4. I’m also a volunteer with my local hospice. Weights are heavy and sparring is certainly challenging, but these things are little more than hobbies compared to the important work that is in front of us. This is the first and probably the last time I’ll make mention of this part of my life on T-Nation.

I’m not here to virtue signal, but to share my connection of kindness with you and to reassure you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with becoming the baddest motherfucker you can be. The world is full of assholes who will take from you, and developing a set of attributes and skills that will put a damper on those plans is something that the kind people of the world should never apologize for.

Of course, it also helps when training to kill people with your bare hands is such a fun and positive experience! Thank you for sharing @Powerpuff!


#3

For sure! If nothing else, we’re making some memories together. It’s good to learn new things.

So true. It’s good to try to keep some perspective on the things that really matter. We so easily get our lives out of balance. Thanks for sharing about your adopted son. It’s a lot better if we just be ourselves here.

This. Women especially are praised and valued for being attractive and kind or sweet. I was thinking about how many boys engage in lots of rough and tumble, wrestling around, physical play with both their fathers, and other boys. One of my brothers was a high school wrestler, and one was into martial arts so they both enjoyed physical competition as a hobby or sport. Thinking about self-defense skills. Girls are often at a disadvantage in just often having no experience with physical play like that. I know I’m talking in stereotypes, but I’m pretty sure the research on how boys play together and how men interact with sons vs. daughters backs that up.

Anyway, all the physical play that boys do probably helps them at least not respond with as much fear or the tendency to freeze if they were to get into a physical situation. Women training in what to do in these situations can’t hurt. Just learning to be assertive if you need to be is a good thing.

Funny. Remember the old Pink Panther movies where Cato keeps Clouseau on his toes by attacking him when he comes home? My daughter’s planning surprise attacks for practice. I’m a little bit worried. Haha.


#4

You are absolutely right with that. I have a 4 years old daughter and I don’t want to raise her as the typical girl who dance, makeup, have fear of insect ect… I don’t want her to be a “tomboy”, but I want to show her a lot more than the usual “girl things”. I want to know that she won’t be defenseless if someone try to beat her up.

So at 3 years she was figure skating, but switch the hockey this year because it’s a lot more fun! Next year she want to do judo with me and we already wrestle a lot together. Sometime she can pinned down his older brother of 7 years old lol (maybe I need to work on that with him:P).

All this physical things give her a lot of confidence.


#5

Sounds like you two had a great first class! Always love to hear about women learning Self Defense, assertiveness, and building confidence in their ability to handle conflicts effectively!

If you want some more great references, check out my two friends material:

Melissa Soalt (Dr Ruthless):

And

Lynne Marie Wannamaker (here is one of her articles on the cerebral/moral side of Self Defense):
http://www.lmwsafe.com/27-the-self-defense-paradox


#6

We did! All good. Long time. Nice to see you. I subscribed to Melissa Soalt’s youtube channel. That’s pretty dramatic to see how tiny she looks next to the man in her demo there. I’ll poke around the articles on LMW’s site.

Thank you for the links.

For sure. And creating parental bonds. That’s awesome.

I think these close relationships with good men serve a protective function for girls. Hopefully, they’re better able to know how a good man treats women, and are less likely to seek attention from young men who don’t have those positive qualities that they recognize from the good men in their lives. Anyway, I think men often think of themselves as models for their sons, but are less likely to appreciate how important they are to their daughters.


#7

Powerpuff,
Well done and thanks for posting. Sounds like you got lucky with some good instructors, that is so important for keeping new trainees interested and motivated. I am glad this is working out so well with you and your daughter. BTW, seems like the daughter is really enjoying this, you may have unleashed a hidden beast on the public:)))

Please keep up the thread, as Sento said, really nice to hear about women getting into training. Best of luck with the rest of the classes.


#8

Lol.

Thank you.


#9

Second Class Session

We built on skills from last week.

Palm Strikes and Groin Kicks and Knees

Escape Choke Holds Against Wall

Responding to being grabbed and pushed against wall, from front, side, and back.

Emphasis on using the elbow as a weapon.

The technique looked a lot like this, where we raised an arm while dropping a shoulder to make room to escape.

From this video, we learned to make a frame with forearms so the attacker can’t slam our face into the wall. The escape technique was very similar, but more like the first video with a strong elbow coming down, rather than the reaching over movement. One arm comes up, shoulder drops down while body is rotating, creating room to get off the wall. Raised arm becomes a strong elbow straight down breaking hold.

Impressions
Good class. A lot more cardio this time, unloading rapid strikes and kicks.

My daughter is interested in taking Kick Boxing next. She thinks it looks like good conditioning for general fitness, but also she doesn’t love having someone grabbing her and wrestling her around. I think she thinks kick boxing has less contact, avoiding having a sweaty person all over you! Ha! We’ll see how she likes that. I’d prefer it if she’d also attend the occasional Krav Maga class at the same facility, so she can keep developing skills from both. The same monthly fee allows you to attend any of the weekly classes, within your skill level. I’m happy that she wants to keep going with some training.


#10

Great work, really glad it is working out for you and your daughter.

I agree, IMHO, a solid base in some form of grappling art is vital for street encounters. You usually dont get attacked by the dapper James Bond types.

Note: I am going to post an opinion on the martial arts written by the author, Barry Eisler over on the Tactical Life this morning, well worth reading for you and your daughter.


#11

Third Class Session
Warmup.

Sparing exercise where we tried to tap the opponents shoulder, evade getting tapped, keeping our hands up to defend our head.

Every class has built on previous skills.

Escape from Bear Hug Variations

Defense from Hair Pull

Great class. They have gradually introduced more “dirty” tactics, and also more survival skills that look like an ugly street fight. Rake hands down face and eyes, bringing foot up to the groin, etc… Re: Hair pull. I’ve seen a few very ugly girl fights among high school girls, and they always involve someone, or both of them, getting painfully pulled around with the opponents hands in the hair.


#12

Fourth Class Session

This class was taught lying on the mats, BJJ techniques.

Escape from Mount Position
This technique.

Escape from Side Choke on Ground
This technique.

Again, great class. Useful things to know. We had a lot of fun. My daughter and I just traded off attacking each other. I had no problem getting free from a 103 pound teenager. I need to practice with my husband to get a feel for a more real situation where my attacker is likely much bigger.

This is likely our last class since my little partner has decided that she doesn’t want to continue. We asked more about kick boxing and I think she was picturing a cardio fitness class with punching bags. Nope. It’s all sparring with people of various sizes, and you need to invest in about $150 worth of gear so I hate to do that with someone who doesn’t want to continue.

About training kids. I almost wish I had told her that we’d try this for 6 months straight up, just because I think she would develop a level of competency. For those of you with younger kids, I think that’s not a bad idea. Also, I think for teen girls, there’s probably a window of time when they are less self-conscious about physical contact. Better to start when they’re 9 or 10.

Best to all of you!
Puff


#13

I really appreciate you chronicling your training. Since “Miss Parker” left several years ago, there have been very women on the Combat Forum ( actually, I cannot think of anymore because Darkninja left around the same time). I wish you, and your daughter would continue with the KM, but, I understand your problem. ( well, as far as I can, I got no experience with teen age daughters:))

Don’t be a stranger over here, you are always welcome.


#14

Sorry to hear that your daughter has decided she no longer wants to continue. I would strongly encourage you to continue though, as, even if she does not seem to be that into it, you do seem to be. Yes, you may not have your training partner of choice, but I’m certain there are other students there who would be more than happy to train with you and help you continue to learn. Perhaps, given enough time, your daughter will realize that she actually does want to continue to learn and with you still there will be much more willing and likely to “step back on the mat.”

I’ve yet to meet someone who kept training and regrets it, but I’ve met plenty who quit and now regret it.


#15

Thanks. I’m considering it. I’d like to at least take a few more months of KM.

My problem is, I want to do ALL THE THINGS! Haha. Seriously, that’s probably my dream life to just have time to train, read a lot and take a couple of classes everyday. PLing, KM, Ballet, OLY…


#16

As the father of a teen daughter I would say you need to start even younger than that and keep it informal and treat it like a game. I think one problem with older girls, and women as well, is that when they train there is more awareness of the “reality” they are training for (sexual assault for example) and for some that is just something they would rather not think about. At a certain level I can understand and sympathize because it can’t be easy to simulate and imagine being sexual assaulted 2-3 times a week. This might be one way in which mixing in a sport element to training can actual be helpful.